As part of efforts to boost Liberia’s trade regime, the Swedish International Development Assistance (SIDA) through its National Board of Trade (NBT) has turned over three computers, accessories and internet facilities to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) to operationalize enquiry points established by Liberia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Post Accession Plan.
At the turnover ceremony over the weekend, Marcus Hansen–Fure, Advisor at the Swedish National Board of Trade (NBT) said the computers and accessories will enable the enquiry points of the Ministry respond to queries and provide information regarding Liberia’s trade regime to WTO members.
He disclosed that the equipment is valued at US$4,400 but was more concerned about the impact of the donated items, especially information about WTO members.
According to Mr. Hansen-Fure, the equipment is one important step towards taking advantage of Liberia’s WTO membership as well as living up to some of the obligations that come with the WTO membership, which includes the establishment of enquiry points and authorities that allow other WTO members, businesses in and out of Liberia, and other stakeholders to receive and request specific information about measures and procedures in those areas.
He added that though the equipment is insufficient, the NBT wants to ensure that enquiry points and authorities are fully operational and this among others means that there are assigned focal points, work procedures, and guidelines on how to operate them.
“These computers will come to good use in Liberia’s ongoing work to create a business friendly and transparent environment for investors, traders and businesses. The WTO secretariat will provide further training on how to operate them,” he stated.
In response, Deputy Commerce Minister for Trade, Steve Marvie, emphasized that the equipment is a tangible gift from the people of Sweden and a laudable effort toward improving Liberia’s trade regime.
“We are glad that support for the enquiry point has come on line, thanks to the Swedish National Board of Trade for the provision of computers, printers, and internet services for the enquiry points,” Marvie said.
For his part, Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration Frantz Sawyer described the gesture as a remarkable milestone in Liberia’s post accession plan.
“The right support and partner can serve as catalysts for economic transformation that is equitable and inclusive to foster growth in unlocking the potential of any country,” he said.